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When Hard Work Works

The state of Illinois finally has an operating budget. Thank you to all of the organizers, advocates, community leaders and relentless phone-callers who made this possible.

Ramon Gardenhire, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Doug Schenkelberg, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and co-chair Nonprofit Impact Awareness Fund

As co-chair of the Nonprofit Impact Awareness Fund, I had a front-row seat to the battle. No one guessed it would turn into an ultra-marathon slog but there we were, 24 months in, and still no sign that the Governor would even sign the legislation (he didn't). The nonprofits were fighting for their lives (and the lives of their clients, quite literally), and they did not let up.

Late in June, one of the advocates told us that she had received a threatening hate-email because of her work on the budget. Another advocate said he had, too. I shouldn't have been surprised but I was.

We live and work among heroes. They don't have capes or lariats or the ability to fly (or do they ?). What they do have is an enormous capacity for compassion and a deep well of personal dedication and commitment. Their willingness to persist doesn't come from their job descriptions -- it's who they are. We are so lucky to have these heroes on our side:

  • Grassroots Collaborative

  • Illinois Partners for Human Service

  • PAY NOW ILLINOIS, organized by the Illinois Collaboration on Youth

  • Responsible Budget Coalition, organized by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

  • Fair Economy Illinois - March to Springfield

  • Arts Alliance of Illinois

  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Add your organization or a person you'd like to thank for their work fighting for a state budget in the comments below!

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